Acid reflux
Symptoms and causes

What is

If you suffer from constant acid reflux, spicy foods that cause acid reflux are best to be avoided.

Acid reflux is the reverse passage of gastric contents into the esophagus (‘food pipe’) which can cause heartburn. The terms are often used interchangeably, but acid reflux is the actual action of part of the stomach contents traveling back up the esophagus (sometimes into the throat and even into the mouth), while heartburn is the uncomfortable feeling as a result of that action.

If you have frequent acid reflux, you may have acid reflux disease. Acid reflux disease and Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GORD or GERD) are the same thing. It might sound scary, but in most cases GORD is not a serious condition and is experienced by one in ten people every day. However persistent episodes can damage the lining of the esophagus, so have a chat with your GP or pharmacist if you’re at all concerned.

What are the

Icon of a person suffering from heatburn symptoms: burning sensation in chest and throat

Acid reflux can be pain free, but it can cause:

  • A burning sensation or heat in your chest or throat usually after eating
  • A hot sour or salty tasting fluid in the back of your throat and difficulty swallowing
  • Pressure behind the breastbone
  • Feeling bloated
  • Needing to burp
  • Feeling/being sick (nausea)
  • Cramps
  • Bad breath
  • Hiccups
acid reflux causes and symptoms

What causes

Learn what foods cause acid reflux and try to avoid them.

At the entrance to your stomach is a ring of muscle or a valve called the sphincter muscle. It is supposed to open to allow food to pass through, and close afterwards. If it doesn’t close properly or opens too often, then acid from the stomach could escape.

Acid reflux normally happens when we eat certain foods. Fried or greasy foods, high fat meats and whole milk dairy products can cause the valve to relax. Caffeinated drinks, coffee, alcohol and spicy foods can all stimulate excess acid production. Eating large meals, lying down straight after eating or snacking close to bedtime are common triggers of acid reflux at night.

Being overweight means you can be more likely to suffer from reflux because of increased pressure on your stomach, which can force open the valve after a meal.2,4

Some people find acid reflux is worse when they are stressed.

Acid reflux also happens due to a weakness of the sphincter muscle, or when the stomach produces too much acid and not enough protective mucous. There is also something called a hiatus hernia; due to a gap in the diaphragm, parts of the stomach can move into the chest which increases the risk of reflux.8

Taking pain relievers such as ibuprofen, some muscle relaxers, or blood pressure medications can also stimulate acid reflux.

How to stop acid reflux? Read some treatment tips to help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux.

1. [Accessed 11.02.2020]

2. Anand R Kumar & Philip O Katz. Functional esophageal disorders: a review of diagnosis and management. Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology(2013); 7 (5): 453-461

3. [Accessed 11.02.2020]

4. [Accessed 11.02.2020]

Treating acid reflux >


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Containing antacid to neutralise excess stomach acid, Rennie®Aniseed tablets work fast to relieve the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.2,3,4

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